- 1 Tides Beach Club, Maine
- 2 Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI
- 3 White Elephant Inn, Nantucket
- 4 Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Florida
- 5 The Willows Inn, Washington
- 6 The Cottages at Cabot Cove, Maine
- 7 Stephanie Inn, Oregon
- 8 Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin, Nantucket
- 9 Salt House Inn, Massachusetts
- 10 The Inn Above Tide, California
- 11 Inn at Perry Cabin, Maryland
- 12 Shutters on the Beach, CA
- 13 Blue Inn on the Beach, MA
- 14 The Chequit, Shelter Island, NY
- 15 Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI
America’s Best Seaside Inns
Who doesn't wish they had their own beach house, complete with wraparound porch for sunset cocktails? Well, these waterfront inns may not be private abodes, but we'll take them any day of the week.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Tides Beach Club, Maine
This 1899 Victorian inn, set on Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, is the definition of coastal chic. Its 21 rooms, two of which are decorated by Jonathan Adler, are done up in beachy tones of coral, navy and seafoam green, with seashell throw pillows, lamps and framed prints. Downstairs, the lounge looks like it’s out of a magazine — all sandy beiges, creamy whites with lucite and chrome furnishings. At the restaurant, dig into local classics like whole belly fried clams, grilled ahi tuna, and Maine lobster ravioli with handmade saffron pasta, asparagus, sundried tomato and lobster cream sauce.
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI
Set on 40 waterfront acres, Castle Hill sure knows how to make a statement. Its stately suites all have spot-on vistas of Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic. The whole place feels like a tribute to Newport’s golden years, when socialites came to summer on the manicured grounds. Today, you can follow in their footsteps by kicking back in an Adirondack chair with a gin and tonic, cruising around in a private Hinckley yacht, sunbathing on a hidden beach that Grace Kelly was known to frequent, or checking into the Turret Room, where playwright Thornton Wilder got inspiration for his words.
White Elephant Inn, Nantucket
Nantucket is full of preppy-chic stays, and the harborfront White Elephant Inn is no exception. The 1920s grey-shingled complex has perhaps the best location on the island—it sits on a perfectly manicured lawn overlooking the bobbing sailboats and fishing trawlers in the marina. To take in the best views, reserve a table on the patio at Brant Point Grill, where you can watch the sunset while eating fresh oysters with lemon, orange and coconut, as well as two-pound New England lobster. Or, if you prefer a more private affair, sip a glass of wine on the deck or by the fireplace in your light-filled suite.
Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Florida
Southern charm blends with New England style at this beachfront bungalow on Amelia Island. A wrap-around porch with white rocking chairs overlooks the windswept sand dunes and rolling waves while suites give off a Floridian vibe with teak chairs and floral linens. Spend your days lounging at the sugar-sand beach, playing golf at the island’s 117 championship holes (including a PGA course), and toasting with a (free!) glass of wine at sunset.
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The Willows Inn, Washington
Nestled in a remote archipelago in the Pacific Northwest, Lummi Island is home to more orca whales and harbor seals than people. On the isle’s banks is the Willows Inn, which has seven suites and eight cottages. Our favorite is the charming two-bedroom Beach House, with a full kitchen, living room, dining area, gas fireplace and private beach access. But, the star of the property is its James Beard Award-winning restaurant run by chef Blaine Wetzel. To create the 20-course tasting menu, the cooks turn to the island, foraging for seaweed on the shore, picking berries off the property’s bushes and fishing the Puget Sound for Dungeness crab and Sockeye salmon (that they then roast in the smokehouse and serve in a sizzling cedar box).
The Cottages at Cabot Cove, Maine
You won’t find any blue blazer dress code here. Sixteen quaint abodes encircle a lawn lined with beech and fir trees that leads to the eponymous cove. The manicured property may fit the area’s tony, secluded tendencies, but its quaint playfulness draws a laid-back crowd. Each cottage has a unique style from beach shack chic to clean-lined contemporary, an effect achieved with fun pops of color, comfy furnishings and nautical knick knacks. Picture quintessential coastal Maine: play croquet on the grounds, stroll to downtown Kennebunkport or kayak on the bay right outside your door.
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Stephanie Inn, Oregon
There’s no cozier place than Cannon Beach’s Stephanie Inn. The warm interiors offer plenty of nooks to curl up on drizzly days, from the oceanfront library and chart room to the lobby, which has a striking stone hearth. The 41 guest rooms are equally appealing with gas fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs and private balconies with views of Haystack Rock. Bonus: the free goodies like gourmet breakfast, beer and wine happy hours, evening nightcaps, taffy from Bruce's Candy Kitchen, and beach cruiser bikes to explore the quaint seaside town.
Cottages and Lofts at the Boat Basin, Nantucket
Nantucket is full of preppy, elegant stays, and this harborfront standout tops our list. The 24 cottages are set along Old South and Swain wharfs, a short stroll from the center of town. Spacious sitting rooms are decorated in maritime blue, white, and red, many with polished pine floors and slate bathrooms. To complete the home-away-from-home feel, the staff stocks the kitchen with groceries, and the owners' English Lab and Golden Retriever greet you at the door.
Salt House Inn, Massachusetts
Built in the 1850s, the colonial Salt House exudes classic Cape Cod design, with a weathered cedar shake exterior, white picket fences, and rambling stone paths. Inside, walls of white slat board serve as a backdrop for a quirky collection of antique artwork and found items (like oars). In the morning, head to the dining room, which is handsomely outfitted with rustic hardwood floors and oil paintings, to consult the chalkboard menu (and daily forecast and tide schedule). Then eat breakfast alfresco beneath a pergola covered with wisteria, before walking two blocks to Provincetown's bustling Commercial Street.
The Inn Above Tide, California
You can’t get any closer to the sea than this. The shingled hotel sits high above the San Francisco Bay, with teak-furnished balconies that jut out over the water and have sweeping views of the skyline, Alcatraz and Marin. Guest rooms come with wood-burning fireplaces, Bulgari toiletries, and binoculars for checking out the chatty sea lions frolicking in the water. There's also a complimentary happy hour with California wines and cheese, as well as free bicycles that you can ride to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Inn at Perry Cabin, Maryland
This grand 1816 manor, on Maryland's Eastern shore, has an aristocratic air, coupled with Chesapeake Bay views. From the terrace, watch fishing vessels trawl for oysters and crabs, and sailboats skim across the river. Guest rooms look like they're from a 19th-century English country home, with polished hardwood floors, carved wood bed frames and floral touches. Antique chests, Audubon prints, and French doors add to the romance. Mornings start with the inn's version of eggs Benedict—crab cakes, homemade pancetta and buttermilk biscuits. For more pampering, indulge in the spa's signature Linden Ritual treatment: a wrap of local flowers, sage, blackberries, eucalyptus and rosemary.
Shutters on the Beach, CA
Check into this Santa Monica stay and you’ll likely to see some stars—and we aren’t talking astronomy. As a popular Hollywood hideout, the glamorous come here for low-key lunches at the farm-fresh restaurant, One Pico, as well as soothing treatments at the world-class spa (the ocean-inspired body scrubs are a must). Although Shutters on the Beach is more of a resort than an inn, it still manages to keep an intimate feel thanks to its whitewashed shutters, Juliet balconies, and quiet seaside locale.
Blue Inn on the Beach, MA
Want a taste of Miami in Massachusetts? Look no further than the sleek Blue Inn on the Beach. Set on Plum Island, just south of the Maine border, the vibe here is sophisticated South Beach. The sprawling guest rooms have crisp white furniture with pops of blues in turquoise, cerulean and seafoam, but the standout amenity are the sun-splashed decks looking out on the waves. If you can swing it, splurge on your own cottage, which comes equipped with a gas fireplace or wood-burning stove, hot tub, and private slice of sand right outside your breezy glass doors. Even the service at Blue Inn is sublime—we love the complimentary breakfast baskets (think: hard-boiled eggs, warm scones, yogurt, fresh fruit) delivered to your door every morning.
The Chequit, Shelter Island, NY
When it opened in 2015, The Chequit instantly became the hippest hangout on Shelter Island, an under-the-radar atoll between the tony Hamptons and North Fork’s wine country. Shabby-chic touches are everywhere throughout the 37 light-filled guest rooms, which are done up in a palette of white, blush and French gray, and have hand-crafted bed frames, vintage-inspired brass lamps and tribal print rugs. Our favorite feature? The ocean-facing porch where you can tuck into homemade treats like granola, fruit-filled pastries, and frittatas in the morning and sip wine and champagne in the evening. There’s also onsite restaurant Red Maple, which serves wood-fired flatbreads and locally-sourced plates, as well as a boutique outpost of Hamptons-based skate and surf brand Wampum.
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Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI
On Rhode Island’s southernmost tip, this 1868 grande dame is one of the state’s most exclusive getaways. Guests come to play a game with the resident croquet pro, bliss out at the 12,000-square-foot spa, and tool around in the property’s fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars. Foodies will love the cooking classes at the on-site Center for Wine & Culinary Arts paired with a private tasting in the 8,000-bottle wine cellar and library, while culture vultures can view the inn’s private art collection on a tour with the in-house curator.
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